Launch of the Tata Nano – The People’s car

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Mar. 23 – The year’s most awaited car will officially be launched today. Tata Motors jellybean sized 10.2 feet, US$2000 Tata Nano will make Indian automotive history. Due to its revolutionary price tag, the People’s car, or the Nano, is designed for India’s burgeoning middle class and is expected to sell 50,000 cars during the next year. It will also be launched in Europe and the UAE by 2011, after meeting the strict auto regulations.

The launch of India’s cheapest four wheeler comes during tough economic times. While the company feels that it is an apt time to launch the inexpensive car, financial experts are apprehensive of sales. However sales will not be the Nano’s only problem. The people’s car has been rigged with controversy ever since its concept was announced by Tata Chairman Ratan Tata.

The six month delayed launch of the Nano is predominantly due to trade union, political party and farmer strikes against its initial manufacturing plant in India’s north eastern state of West Bengal. Having abandoned the West Bengal plant which was 90 percent complete, Tata Motors has started building another plant for the Nano in the western state of Gujarat. However the Gujarat plant will only be completed by late next year, until then the Nano will be manufactured at other Tata Motor plants across the country.

The Nano which broke new ground in design, engineering and production processes will also opt for cost-effective and innovative use of media and marketing. While orders for the car will be available at select dealerships, it consumers can also book the car at other Tata retail outlets like Westside and Croma.

Nonetheless, Tata’s Nano has its set of contending competitors. Bajaj Auto Ltd., India’s second-biggest motorcycle maker, is developing an inexpensive small car with Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA of France. Mahindra & Mahindra traditionally a tractor and truck maker is also planning a foray into the small car space soon.

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